For the first time in its history, women’s boxing became an officially sanctioned event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. A determined 17-year-old from Michigan named Claressa “T-Rex” Shields wanted to be a part of that history. With confidence in her corner, filmmakers Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper document the young scrapper’s quest for the gold in their moderately engaging, shoot-now-figure-it-out-later sports doc cum character study. It’s a tough film to watch, particularly if one holds little faith in the raging bullshit notion that professional sports, particularly one that involves frequent blows to the head, can act as a springboard out of the poverty. Secondary characters — a gruff but loveable manager who never expected his first champion was going to be a girl, and a brief romantic subplot involving her sparring partner — help to take some of the edge off. Interviews with friends and family members only hammer home T’s need to get the hell out of Flint. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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